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Blake Siebenaler, a Fort Wayne native, is an NHL draft prospect.

City native awaits call from NHL team

Mom says teen put hockey first growing up

– Blake Siebenaler’s life likely will never be the same after this weekend.

But then, it hasn’t been the same for a long time.

Siebenaler, a 6-foot-1, 183-pound defenseman from Fort Wayne, is expected to go in the NHL draft this weekend, fulfilling a dream that began for him pretty much the first time he strapped on a pair of ice skates when he was 5 or 6 years old.

A childhood as a hockey vagabond with a single-minded purpose ensued.

“Since he’s touched the ice (the NHL) has been his goal,” says his mother, Julie. “He’s sacrificed it all. His entire life has been hockey.

“He’s gone to four different high schools, lived in four different places. He and I have never been to a school function. Everything has been hockey. … Not that he doesn’t have a social life or friends, he has a ton of them. But hockey’s always come first.”

Siebenaler, 18, played for the Indiana Ice in the United States Hockey League two seasons ago and the Niagara IceDogs in the Ontario Hockey League this past season, where he played in 68 games and scored six goals and 30 points.

Two years ago, he played on USA Hockey’s Under-17 National Developmental team.

This year, he was invited to and attended the NHL combine, where he interviewed with 15 teams. The website www.draftsite.com has him going to the St. Louis Blues in the third round with the 82nd overall pick.

“Mobile defenseman whose up-ice game is far more polished than his back end play,” analyst Bill Placzek wrote on draftsite.com. “Has good size, hands and feet. Fairly new to the defense position since converting from forward. Projects as a long term project that must learn the defensive nuances of his zone and improve his play in his own zone. Good puck carrier who has excellent hands and passing skills and advanced to being a regular on the point of the Icedog power play and playing big minutes each game.”

How all that translates to this weekend remains to be seen.

“We’re hoping,” Julie Siebenaler said. “It looks pretty positive. His agent is thinking maybe he’ll go late second or early third (round), but you can never be sure.”

bensmith@jg.net

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